Neema Christian Academy - Thoughts & Updates from Stephanie Bys

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Neema Christian Academy - Thoughts & Updates from Stephanie Bys

Start a school they said, it will be great they said! And it is great, but it is SO much work, I feel like I'm treading water daily. Buying needed supplies daily, telling teachers "that will have to wait" daily.Having this school is such a blessing to me personally. As a Mama…

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McKinney Christian Academy blesses our Neema Christian Academy!

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McKinney Christian Academy blesses our Neema Christian Academy!

Thank you Kristin Urban and McKinney Christian Academy for such an amazing donation of about 400 pounds of various children school uniforms!

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Great new partnership with Revival Church!

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Great new partnership with Revival Church!

A new covenant of ministry partnership with AFM, Bys Family and Revival Church, Fall Creek WI . Hallelujah, the Lord is good!

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NEEMA CHRISTIAN ACADEMY is Happening!

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NEEMA CHRISTIAN ACADEMY is Happening!

Launching a new school for the impoverished children in Kenya! Come and see, and be a part of what God is calling us all to do today!

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Neema School Announcement and need!

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Neema School Announcement and need!

Launching a new school for the impoverished children in Kenya! Come and see, and be a part of what God is calling us all to do today!

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A Heartbreaking New Year

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A Heartbreaking New Year

some heartbreaking news we must share with you….

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How did we meet?

From Stephanie’s post on Facebook, interested in how many of us came to know them, many are sharing their stories. Click here to visit the post and share your story.

But in the meantime, did you know Dianeh Joy is living with the Bys Family for the next few months to help be a loving helper with the children and however God calls her to serve? She is already filling the airways with praises to God and greater revelations to us all back home sharing her heart and God’s passion He is living out through About-Face Missions in Kenya. Read on to hear her story of coming to know them and God leading her to travel to Kenya…

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I was praying about going on a mission trip and working with orphans. I did not want to do a short term trip, but a couple months at least. In the meantime i kept busy waiting on the call by making and selling shoes to feed the hungry.

I used a hashtag #James1vs27 for most of my posts. My daughter Aura Moore was also praying about a mission trip to Africa and we thought we might go together. On one of her posts I noticed she used the hashtag #james127 and I wondered if anyone else wrote the hashtag that way..

So guess what? I clicked on that hashtag and it took me to posts by Stephanie Bys. It was the day after they had gotten arrested and there was a huge call for everyone to pray. Talk about God!!

I went to their site and read everything I could about their story and looked at all the pictures. I sent Stepanie a message saying. “Please know that you have one more person praying for you” After that i prayed for them day and night, I couldnt get them out of my head. I was even woken up out of a sound sleep a couple of times sitting straight up in bed with the name Stephanie Bys. I’d get up and pray for her then fall right back to sleep. This went on for months as I started following and commenting.

Then i started saying out loud to my family. “I think #MercyChildrensHome is where I am supposed to go. So after about nine months of praying and communicating with DC Shelton, President of #AboutFaceMissions and Stephanie and Jeff Bys. I arrived in Kenya on my 60th Birthday!!

I have been here two weeks and I am so thrilled to have this opportunity to serve here. The current plan is for me to stay for four months, 120 days which is three 40 day periods of time. (I prayed that God would make the length of time I stayed meaningful too) This has certainly impacted my life. My prayer is that God will continue to bless and provide for this ministry. I pray to God that my going will help open up the way for others to come and also to generously support this ministry. This is truly a work of God.

I have seen first hand the love and devotion that Jeff and Stephanie and their children pour into this home and these kids. They have a Godly staff and the community is being impacted for Christ as well. It dawned on me that these are not just children they are caring for, these orphans and at risk kids, are growing up to be men and women of God whose lives and eternity has been changed because of this obedient and selfless family.

I pray that many people would recognize how much help is really needed here and trust God to give, not out only out of our abundance, but out of our lack as well. We will then see the great things God can do through that kind of giving. God bless you all.
— Dianeh Joy, from Facebook post on this string

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We're Back from Nairobi!!

Today we arrived back home with our 2 visitors! It was an awesome day and we were blessed with easy and safe travels.

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Ironically enough two years ago today we were traveling the same roads to our new (temporary) home in Kenya. Happy 2 crazy blessed years to us! We had no clue what lay before us but we were as ready as we could be. For anyone who hasn't been following our story from the beginning let me recap "quickly".

•2011 Jeff began to talk about Africa
•2012 Jeff was still talking about Africa and I was a "maybe someday".
•2013 "Africa, Africa, Africa"-Jeff "Don't talk to me about Africa!"-Steph
•2014 Jeff started volunteering with AFM and attempted a trip to Kenya, but it was bad timing so he wasn't able to go.
•2015 "MAYBE, when all the kids are grown I will go to Africa so please stop talking to me about it!"-Steph 🤷🏻‍♂️-Jeff
•2016 Jeff was able to go to Kenya with DC Shelton for 10 days at the end of April. While Jeff was in Kenya God made it abundantly clear that I was to go to Kenya as soon as Jeff wanted to. 😭😭😭 (I REALLY, REALLY did NOT want to move to Kenya EVER, much less so soon.)
•May-November 2016 We sold everything we had and packed 45 bags to permanently move with our 7 youngest children to Kenya.
•December 2016 moved to Bungoma, Kenya.
•January 2017 Had the water well dug and started building our home.
•May 2017 started taking in children
•September-December 2017 many wrangles with the men we came here to work along side with, forcing us to leave our home and we were even put in jail for a short time.
•January 2018 we moved back home with the support of our village and our court case was closed.
•June 2018 Purchased the 1/2 acre our home is built on. (Yes this was done backwards and we learned a lot)
•October 2018 finished the boys' side of the home and painted the majority of the inside of our home! 😁😁😁
•November 2018 Enough funds to purchase the front part of our land was donated. 💜

So here we are 2 years in and I can't imagine living anywhere else. It hasn't always been easy and we have made mistakes along the way, but we have been SO blessed and learned a ton. We now have 90+ children living at Mercy Home, a staff of 20+, a church that meets here weekly and we 2 visitors!

Thank you! Thank you for allowing God to use you in the lives here in our small village. Thank you for caring for orphans and widows. Thank you for building 5 homes for widows and families who need help. Thank you for allowing Jeff to live out his passion by sharing and teaching the gospel. Thank you for loving our children, I can't even explain what that means to me!

I'm crazy excited about this next year! We are hoping to open a school and welcome more visitors! Come and see!

#kenya #james127 #changingtheirstory #changetheirstory#mercychildrenshome #orphansandwidows #nonprofit #aboutfacemissions#streetboycrisis #streetboynomore #missionarylife #missions


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Those who still want to give to our Christmas Mercy Home Celebration event, please click this Mercy Home button to visit our webpage and use the giving options there! God bless you!

And if you have not yet watched our full length documentary yet, what’s keeping you?? click here to watch it all!

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$5000 in matching funds!! Double your giving now! :-)

Praise God! We have been blessed with a wonderful donor who wants to help us with a $5k matching fundraising drive to help us meet our current land purchase need!

We really need to get our kids out of the horrible conditions of the extremely overcrowded school they now attend, and we need room for the kids to play and for us to expand our mission for Christ here in Kenya. Our contract to buy the land still stands, but we need to pay the current landowner by December 1st to give him a few weeks to clear out and move. Then we can start preparing that extra eight-tenths of an acre for us to use for Church and setting up classrooms for our kids. We really need to try to launch our school the first of this year and now it is looking possible by the grace of God! Thank you for the generous matching gift donor who stepped up! If you give now your gift will be doubled until we raise another $5k! Come help us change the lives for the least of these in Kenya and double your giving impact! Thank you to all who have given and to all whom the Lord will lead to help us wrap up this very important need!

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Visit our Mercy Home Fundraising page online for more information or click our Double Now button below to give online now. If anyone want to give by Paypal or Check visit our AFM.NGO/donate page for more information and simply mention “Double My Gift” and we will apply it here also.

If you have not seen our 55 minute Documentary or 12 minute mini movie version , click image to visit our Documentary page!

If you have not seen our 55 minute Documentary or 12 minute mini movie version , click image to visit our Documentary page!

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Let Love Be Genuine

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Jeff shared some of these same pictures and a few details on his Facebook page on Sunday and I was a little overwhelmed and could not put my thoughts down yet. Finally words and thoughts are coming together so I wanted to write it out and share it with y'all. Last week, Jeff told me that we would be going to the church in Tulumba that was recently planted under AFM. I agreed, but already had my doubts about going because Sundays are chaotic for our home (we have a church that meets inside our gate so we add 75+ people) so I hate for both of us to be gone. Saturday rolled around and I told Jeff I wasn't feeling well and likely wouldn't be going on Sunday. Sunday I woke up and felt like I had been ran over, we have some type of cold/flu but meds don't really help so it just drags on and on.


I decided I wouldn't be going and told Jeff that and went back to sleep because I was so tired. Honestly, everyone loves Jeff, he is outgoing and the front person or face of our work here. I'm way more behind the scenes and heard from less, but that's where I love to be. So I wasn't worried about going because what they really care about is Jeff, or at least that was my thought process. Suddenly, Karson comes in my room and tells me that Nickson said that I HAVE to go. It isn't a choice, Nickson said you are going to Tulumba today. If you know me, you know I don't take orders from many people. However, if something is that important to Nickson I should probably go. Nickson has gone above and beyond for our ministry and our family personally. Nickson has been working with us since we moved here. He's driven us to the hospital late at night in the cold rain, helped us move during our times of trouble and helped us take in most of our boys who came from the street. He would do anything we aked of him, so I should get up and go, but I feel terrible. So I ask Jeff "Do you REALLY want me to go?" and he says "yes" so I got up, got ready and we went. Thankfully Jeff had ironed my skirt for me (Jeff always irons for me 💜) so I was able to get ready quickly while still waking up.

Nickson far left, with Kepha, Jeff and I.

Nickson far left, with Kepha, Jeff and I.


We get to the church, which is just a small home we have rented and everyone is happily greeting us. Then we start church. Jeff gets up to teach and he teaches about when Mary poured the expensive ointment on Jesus' feet (John 12). While I'm paying attention, I'm fighting the tiredness, pain, lack of focus and somewhat wishing I could have just stayed home because I'm sure at least some of this is showing in my actions and reactions. Once Jeff is done I know we are nearing the end of service, which means lunch and I'm hoping lunch will give me a boost of energy and I will feel better.


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A few ladies leave the room and I'm told they have something for me because they felt bad they couldn't be at my father's funeral. In Kenya, funerals are a HUGE deal. Everyone chips in something to make it all work and it is an all day event. Many people come and go all day and there is lots of food prepared. So the ladies come in singing and dancing and present us with flowers (the red garland you see around our necks), then they wrap me with a shuka and shower us with food. Beans, bananas, plantains, eggs and 3 live chickens. I was honestly blown away. We've lived here almost 2 years and we've never been celebrated or honored, which I am totally okay with because I hate being in the spotlight, but this was full of love and SO special.


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Now I'm having all these thoughts of "I can't actually take this food", "Maybe I can just donate it back to the church and they can use it for Sundays", "Surely someone here needs this, I can't possibly take this.". Crazy thoughts I know because these gifts were given out of pure love, but I have an idea of how hard life is here. I will never fully understand just how hard it is, but I see so many others struggling. Some of the very ladies gifting me things are struggling right now. The pastor of that church rides his bicycle to and from church twice a week. He lives in our village and it takes 20 minutes by MOTORBIKE to get there. Some of the road conditions are terrible and he has a problem with one of his feet, but he makes it work. So yes I spent some time trying to figure out how to decline their beautiful gifts because how could I take from them when they were in need? Then I had a peace come over me and I knew I was just supposed to accept the gifts. If they couldn't have done that, they wouldn't have. They genuinely wanted to bless me and I won't even be able to ever explain to them how much they blessed me.


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Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:9-10


What I experienced on Sunday was genuine love. They quite literally poured love over me, something I didn't even know I needed. It is something that I haven't felt here in Kenya (outside of my husband, children and donors) at all. God is in the details of our life, He cares about the big things and the small things.

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Karson the Lion-Hearted

I knew being a missionary and moving my wife and our seven youngest kids to Kenya would have risks. It is one of the main reasons I prayed for so long against it. For at least five years, as the thoughts and feelings and love for Africa grew stronger and stronger, I prayed nearly every day that God would take the desire away. I was looking at the situation practically, after all. I often thought, “How can a responsible husband and father of 10 be a missionary in a third-world country?” I had so many reasons I had come up with to tell God no; or to at least convince myself that surely God would not call me to be a missionary. I must be mistaken. The thoughts and desires I had must be coming from sinful ambition, or midlife crises, or bad pizza...who knows? But surely not from God. I would constantly add to my list of reasons to doubt: (1) My wife did not want to be a cross-cultural missionary. (2) If we moved to Africa, we would be 9,000 miles away from our three adult children. (3) Weddings would be missed. (4) Grandkids would grow up without us. (5) Just think of everything our seven youngest kids will miss out on. (6) I would be risking the lives of my wife and kids. Whoa...that one stopped me in my tracks the first time I thought of it. What kind of father would jeopardize the lives of his wife and children to chase some crazy dream of preaching the Gospel and caring for orphans and widows in a continent he has never even been to? I mean sure, Jesus gave us the Great Commission, we are to make disciples, but I could keep doing that right where I was in North Texas. It would be irresponsible for me to drag my family across the world to live in a third-world country where the prosperity gospel, witchcraft, and malaria are so prevalent. I couldn’t stand the thought of taking my wife and kids to Africa and one of them, or more, getting hurt or sick or killed as a result. But God…

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7

But God… I could no longer run from His calling. I could no longer resist to serve a God like that, no matter what it might cost me. I had counted the cost of being His disciple (Luke 14:25-33) and could do no other than conclude that everything is secondary to Christ.


But God... continued to flame the fire of desire for Africa all those years, even as I pleaded with Him to distinguish it. Finally, I made a trip to Africa. In April 2016, I headed to Kenya with the president of About-Face Missions, a missions organization I had been volunteering with in order to serve and to test if my desires were truly of God. During that trip I sensed with great clarity that Kenya is where God was calling me. And when I returned home, I received my final confirmation. The most compelling confirmation. As I mentioned earlier, first on my list of reasons not to be a missionary was that my wife did not want to be a missionary. She and I are one. I knew that God would not call me to be a missionary and not her and I refused to try to convince her that this is what God had for us. I knew, if this desire I had was truly of God, He would also make it clear to my bride. And make it clear to her He did; at the very time I was in Africa wondering how I was going to do anything else but come back as a missionary. Not only that, but our seven youngest kids were ready and determined to make the move as well. We started making our plans, selling everything we owned, and saying our goodbyes. By December 2016 we were getting settled in to life in Kenya.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

Within a few months, the construction of our children’s home was far enough along that we were able to move in and start taking in orphans and at-risk kids. Little did I know that issues were brewing with a local ministry we were working with. As it turns out, there was a plot to have me and my family thrown out of Kenya so that a local “bishop” could take over the home we had built. Many of the lies he and his pastors had been telling us started to come to light, and I suppose the pressure built for him to take action.

It was a typical Kenyan afternoon; sunny and hot. My wife and I were busy with our daily responsibilities of running Mercy Home. The kids were all home from school, some were playing while others were getting some chores done. Our gate-guard notified me that I had visitors. I went to the gate to find the bishop (I will call him “Charles”) and around 10 of his pastors there. Bishop Charles said that they wanted to come inside to talk to me. There had already been some tension and the fact that he came unannounced with so many men made things worse. I told him that we could not meet in the Mercy Home compound, but that I would go with them across the road to the school and we could talk there. As we walked together, Charles began to yell that he was tired of me, they were all tired of me. He then removed his phone from his pocket and told me that he was calling immigration to have me removed from Kenya. I told him that if that was all he wanted to talk about, then there was no reason for us to meet. I turned around and started walking back towards the Mercy Home compound.

Thankfully, years of martial arts training had prepared me for what happened next. I had never trained with a focus on beautiful forms, winning tournaments, or inflicting as much damage as possible. I had always trained with one purpose in mind; if anything ever happened I wanted to keep my family safe and to get home to them, God willing. One of the men with Charles grabbed me and attempted to force me back to the crowd. As I resisted, I saw him move to sweep my legs. I could see the other men quickly coming, and not wanting things to escalate further than they already were, I decided not to go on the offensive. I allowed the leg sweep, but going to the ground, I pulled my attacker off balance. As soon as I hit the ground, I immediately hopped back up and pushed the attacker, creating space for me to run to the gate. As I got to within about 10 feet of the open gate door, I could see the gate-guard also running towards the gate from inside the compound. He had a panicked look on his face, and as he ran through the gate door, exiting the compound and coming towards me, he hit his forehead on the crossbar causing a gash that instantly started bleeding. Within 2-3 seconds after that, my 15 year-old son, Karson, also came running through the gate door, but he was yielding a machete with a determined look on his face.

 

That was it; the scariest moment of my entire life. I was faced with the reality that my son was prepared to fight 10 men with a machete in order to save his dad. Later, his actions made me proud of him. Later, I added the moment to my favorite list as a Dad; the list of times I realized God is raising up my children to be better people than me. But in the moment, it terrified me. I was completely at peace to face my death if my Lord willed it, but I quickly realized I was not prepared to watch my son die. Scared for his life, I did the only thing I knew to do in that moment. I screamed at him. I yelled at him to get back inside the gate. He did so and I followed right behind him. Fortunately, Karson coming with the machete caused my attackers enough of a panic to allow us time to get in the gate door and secure it. As soon as it shut, we heard pounding and screaming on the other side. Soon, an angry crowd began to form outside our compound. Within a few seconds, large rocks and bricks started hitting the roof as the angry crowd turned into a mob. One rock passed a few inches over my shoulder as others landed near my feet. By this time, all the kids had been secured inside the house. My wife had already contacted friends to bring the police, but who knew how long it would take for them to get there. Every moment that passed, it seemed more likely that the screaming crowd outside would breach the unfinished brick security wall, and knowing something of mob justice in Kenya, I was sure they would kill me.



  I lift up my eyes to the hills.       From where does my help come?                     My help comes from the LORD,       who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

Seeing there was nothing left I could physically do, I prayed, and waited for whatever the Lord willed. Fortunately, our friends quickly arrived with police. The crowd settled down as soon as they saw them with their machine guns. Once inside the compound, the police let our attackers in as well. After speaking with them, they asked Karson and I to go to the police station, as Karson was being accused of attacking the gate-guard with the machete. We soon learned that bishop Charles and some of his pastors, after seeing the guard slash his head on the crossbar, saw it as an opportunity to rid themselves of us. They had told the crowd starting to form outside that Karson attacked the guard with the machete; the one he had yielded in order to save me. The guard, out of fear of the bishop, went along with the lie. That is what caused the crowd to get so angry and start throwing rocks and bricks. Fortunately, after examining the injury at the police station, the police did not believe their story. Later, the gate-guard even confessed at the police station that he was told by bishop Charles and his pastors to lie.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2-3

Though many more challenges were to follow, I will save them for additional posts. For now, I will end saying that in this trial and the ones to follow, God in His sovereignty enabled us to count it all joy. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Ro 8:28) God has been so gracious to us, and we thank Him for every opportunity He gives us to serve Him.

Karson the Lion-Hearted (far left) with his Mama and 3 older brothers.

Karson the Lion-Hearted (far left) with his Mama and 3 older brothers.

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We are so BLESSED!! Our documentary is so close to done!

From Stephanie Bys

Yesterday at church a young man was sharing and celebrating the work God has done in his life recentlyLucas attributes that work to Jeff and I being here. Maybe God called us here for work such as that, but it truly is all God. At one point he told Jeff that the Lord will bless us, that He will really bless us for the work we are doing here. Then it hit me...they don't even realize that they are the blessing!

Renting a church use tent now that we have started construction on the remainder of the home! Neema Community Church is open air and full of light now!

Renting a church use tent now that we have started construction on the remainder of the home! Neema Community Church is open air and full of light now!

Lucas is right in saying that God will bless us. He has and He does daily. Getting to walk alongside Lucas and see real life change is a blessing to us. Watching some of our staff go from surviving to thriving is such a blessing to us. Watching Dan get off of the streets and glue, then work his way to 4th in his class is a blessing to us. Seeing Zeke, Minnie, Joy and Gracious go from malnourished to chunky little babies is a blessing. Seeing Barasa walk away from alcohol, being serious about his job, showing up and participating in church weekly and loving on his sweet baby Paul is such a blessing. Seeing Jamila able to pay school fees for her children is a blessing to us. Seeing Nickson love on our children and really care for them is such a blessing to us. I could go on and on with blessings, the point is the people we live life with on a daily basis are a huge blessing to us.

God has blessed us like crazy. He brought us all the way to Kenya and blesses us daily by allowing us to live here and walk alongside these people, many who are just like family to us now.

So instead of Lucas thanking us, we should be thanking him! 💜
#mercychildrenshome  #aboutfacemissions #kenya #changingourstory #james127 #nonprofit #blessings


JAMBO from Kenya! While we wait anxiously for our full documentary to be fully ready to reveal…..
We're excited to share now our official trailer for AFM Mercy Home Ministry documentary!!!
Take short glimpse of our soon to release full movie documentary of our Mercy Children's Home ministry in Bungoma Kenya ...featuring our Jeff Bys and Stephanie Bys 
family missionary team and local Kenyans. 
To learn more about our ministry visit Aboutfacemissions.com and select Mercy Home from our Ministries menu after hitting Enter to visit the site!

AFM Mercy Children's Home ministry trailer to our full length documentary soon to released! 50 plus minutes to hear locals and our Bys family missionaries dialog about our ministry to the poor and needy of Kenya!

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Back to Construction and kids available to sponsor now!

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Back to Construction and kids available to sponsor now!

posted on behalf of Stephanie Bys from Facebook.

new Ema full of joy

new Ema full of joy

As many of you know we now have a sponsorship program and instead of posting the whole album I thought I would share some individual pics and a little bit of their story. Below is Ema (long E) who is a former streetboy. Ema use to spend his days sniffing glue, stealing, begging for food and being chased away by adults. The first time I met Ema (picture in comments) I didn't understand why he was being chased by a security guard, why he was so dirty or why he was asking for money. My eyes were about to be opened and my heart was soon cracked wide open. Ema slept on the streets most nights until he come to MCH. Now Ema is in school getting and education and he never has to worry about food. If you would like to sponsor Ema just click his picture and comment "sponsored". Thank you for your prayers and support!

old Ema when we found him

old Ema when we found him


our new Minnie!

our new Minnie!

Our "tiny" Minnie girl needs a sponsor too! While you can't yet communicate back and forth with her yet we can certainly update you on her progress. Minnie came to us straight from the hospital, she had been hospitalized for 3 days due to malnourishment. She obviously isn't lacking in food any longer and has put on a lot of weight (check the comments for an old picture). She is such a sweet, happy baby and it is a blessing to love on her and watch her grow. Minnie is 6 months old and thriving here at Mercy Home. If you would like to sponsor Minnie just click on her picture and comment "sponsored". Please feel free to ask any and all questions you have.


Finally construction has begun on the boy's dorm room!

Currently, we have the boys in the girl's dorm room, and the girls are in a smaller room that will become the office/library/study. We will also begin the finishing phase of the boy's bathroom in the next few days.

A lot of dirt has to be removed before laying the floor.

A lot of dirt has to be removed before laying the floor.

Many of the rocks have to be broken up with a sledge hammer.

Many of the rocks have to be broken up with a sledge hammer.

The boys dorm room has progressed faster than I thought it would. A lot was done today despite our power issues which have caused us to not have enough water (no power, no water pump pumping) and delaying the construction team some. Tomorrow they should finish the first layer on the floors and all walls. Monday they will start the bathrooms! As much as I'm not a fan of living in a construction zone I can't tell you how exciting it is to be making progress after months of not. Thank you so much for all of your support! Praying, sharing and giving is what keeps us here in Kenya loving on these children, church members and our community. (Sorry for the terrible photos, it rained/got dark before I could get better pictures and we don't have all of the lights installed yet.)

 #aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome #james127#kenya #nonprofit #changingtheirstory

Most of the room has the first layer of cement down.

Most of the room has the first layer of cement down.

The next layer will be the smooth layer. Tomorrow the brick wall will be covered.

The next layer will be the smooth layer. Tomorrow the brick wall will be covered.

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too long since I posted an update!

Zeke and Violet

Zeke and Violet

So it has been way too long since I posted an update, but here a little bit about why! Jeff left town on Sunday morning for a conference in Nairobi so I've been the one dealing with everything. Running a children's home is no easy task. Usually if we have an employee issue Jeff deals with that, if we have a disciplinary issue with a boy Jeff deals with that, if we have a staff meeting Jeff runs that, if we have people show up asking for a job Jeff deals with that, if we have some building going Jeff deals with that, anytime we have major behavior issues to address Jeff is involved with that, but the last few days all of that has fallen on me plus the normal life of being a Mama to many! I feel a little frazzled and torn on what to do next because I always have something to do next. Oh did I mention I don't sleep much when Jeff's gone and I have some sort of infection where my impacted molar is? I promise you I'm not complaining, life here is so good even when I'm frazzled and without my love by my side!

 A brother and a sister about 5 and 6 years old with bad jiggers we are helping

 A brother and a sister about 5 and 6 years old with bad jiggers we are helping

Today Karson sprayed 5 homes for jiggers. A few days ago we met a woman who had many jiggers even in her hands. 💔 So she and several of her neighbors were treated and had their homes sprayed today.

Next up on our agenda is to get the kids ready for school, they start back Monday for the final term of this year. We are currently trying to make sure each child has a pair of shoes to wear 😂😂 and I will likely have to buy several pairs this weekend.

Our sweet Lexy girl! Lord please send us to the right places with the right doctors for her! 💜

Our sweet Lexy girl! Lord please send us to the right places with the right doctors for her! 💜

Friday Jeff and I will travel to pick up a little girl (Lexy) with special needs. What her exact needs are we aren't sure, with complex issues it can be hard to get a real diagnosis. She is 3 and can't walk or talk, but she can hear and she eats just fine! Jeff just today made a new connection with a hospital we are hoping will be able to give us some real answers. Please pray for Lexy! She need LOTS of prayers and so do we as her parents, we want to help her in any way that we can.

Totally unrelated (told you I felt frazzled 🤪) but Jeff got told today (by a guy from the US) that he sounded like he was native to Kenya 😭😭😭 our Texas is gone!!!! 😭😭😭 I have noticed how "country" others sound when we video chat and I knew it had to be because our accent had changed! But I'm still saying y'all and my Kenyan accent won't stop that!

Thanks for following this crazy, joy filled journey God has us on!

Random pictures because it has been a while!

#mercychildrenshome #aboutfacemissions #james127 #nonorofit#byebyejiggers #orphans

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Blown away by God's goodness

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Posted from facebook for Stephanie

Up late, deep in thoughts and completely blown away by God's goodness. Monday, was an overwhelming day, if you saw the pictures of John's feet you know why.

fused toes, one fallen off and maggot infested. 

fused toes, one fallen off and maggot infested. 

I've not seen anything that bad...ever. But for a moment I was so torn...I knew we didn't have the money to cover what needed to be done, but I also knew we had to get him help. Being in the field and in the moment is so hard sometimes. Juggling what we are faced with and our budget is even harder. We've recently been in talks with the President of AFM about our budget and our many ministry needs and I was just sure he was going to be upset about this risk that we took. I also know him pretty well and knew he would understand at some level, but I won't lie, the anxiety was very real when posting John's need.

But God! God provided peace and more money than the estimated bill in just hours about $633 in all! Now, assuming his bill is around $400 we will be able to do some repairs on his roof (many of his iron sheets need to be re-nailed down) and get him all set up to continue treatment at home. John told us today that he was born in 1926, but he doesn't look 92 to me. His wife has passed away and so has his only son. However old he is or however long he has left to live life on this Earth I hope it is better than the previous 12 years that he has been battling podoconiosis (Mossy Foot).

Thank you, those words always seems so simple and never enough, but that is all I have. Thank you for all of your prayers, shares and donations! It fills my heart with joy to see y'all jump in and help John! You are making a difference in lives here, you are changing stories. Not only are you helping John, but others are watching and learning. Others are seeing that God provides, others are blown away when we share the stories of how much money God has provided in just hours. It is such a blessing to get to do this work and share in this JOurneY.

#mercychildrenshome #thankyou #aboutfacemissions #kenya #nonprofit#podoconiosis #mossyfoot #changingtheirstory #Godprovides

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Sweet sleeping babies! 😍😍😍


#aboutfacemissions #changingtheirstory #james127 #mercychildrenhome#orphans #john1418 #kenya

Sometimes you just gotta admire what God is doing, by looking at these beauties!

Gracious and Joy 😍😍

Gracious and Joy 😍😍

Ezekiel Valor 😍

Ezekiel Valor 😍

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We have a professional video being produced!!!

Praise God that we met a wonderful brother in Christ in Nairobi that has a heart for the Lord and ministry to help the little ones of Kenya just like us at Mercy Children's Home. Git Stephen Gitau  of Gravity Films and Photography is a talented and skilled audio video professional and he offered to help produce a small "get to know AFM Mercy Home" mini documentary. Our cost was just room and board and travel for his crew to come over and spend a few days with us filming photo taking and conducting interviews to help you and the world see our heart and vision of what God is doing among us in Kenya! 

We are so excited to see this project come together, and we are getting some samples of images as Git is working on this project producing it in a way we could never do on our own. Much thanks to Git Stephen for his hard work, which is much more intense than even what they did live with us. Pray with us for this video to capture the heart of what we are doing and to help lift up Christ and his calling for us all!  Thank you for all who give, who pray, who encourage and stay connected with About-Face Missions and the Bys Family.  We treasure your partnerships. Please keep praying!  It may take some months before we have the end product to reveal and release for viewing, so be patient!  Here are a few stylized image that have been leaked out thus far!  

Our Handsome boys!  Just imagine, just a short time ago, Brandon didn't know these two on each side and while he was living a typical american boy life, these others were begging on the streets of Bungoma trying to stay alive. Now they are best buds. Loving life. 

Our Handsome boys! 
Just imagine, just a short time ago, Brandon didn't know these two on each side and while he was living a typical american boy life, these others were begging on the streets of Bungoma trying to stay alive. Now they are best buds. Loving life. 

An image from the streets at night when we took our film crew to see real life for the street boys in the city. 

An image from the streets at night when we took our film crew to see real life for the street boys in the city. 

Stephanie with our kids during our lunch break time at their local school. We carry lunch to all our kids and feed them there. 

Stephanie with our kids during our lunch break time at their local school. We carry lunch to all our kids and feed them there. 

Jeff, Stephanie and Kepha talking about another who we may need to help next. Every day is full of challenges and new needs and demands. We cannot do it all, but we will do all God allows and enables us to do in helping the poor kids and the extremely needy serving them with Christ's love in practical ways.  While making disciples for Christ and helping build the Church we are working hard to be his hands and feet of compassion among these in Kenya. come partner with us. This is your ministry too. 

Jeff, Stephanie and Kepha talking about another who we may need to help next. Every day is full of challenges and new needs and demands. We cannot do it all, but we will do all God allows and enables us to do in helping the poor kids and the extremely needy serving them with Christ's love in practical ways.  While making disciples for Christ and helping build the Church we are working hard to be his hands and feet of compassion among these in Kenya. come partner with us. This is your ministry too. 

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Day of Love and Joy! Thank you!

posted for Stephanie from Facebook. 

Blessing of a wonderful donor to rebuild the Burungasi family a new home!

Blessing of a wonderful donor to rebuild the Burungasi family a new home!

Today has been a day full of L💜VE! We woke up to an email that a family donated $500 to send 4 children back to school and to provide them and their widowed Grandmother with an adequate home! What a huge blessing that is! Then we received a call that we had 3 bags of toys from America waiting for us in town. Today was like Christmas for Mercy Home! We have been hugely blessed and loved well!

 

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Cuddle

someone has a new friend. 

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Meet Victor!

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Joyful July day...I missed a bunch but now I'm back! 

Meet Victor! This boy always brings a smile to my face. When you see him on the street he is smiling and if he isn't smiling before he sees you he will smile at you. Jeff and I have had many conversations with him, fed him many times and we desperately want to help him. The "problem" is that he is 16 and in our experience the older the child the harder they are no matter where they come from. Actually he has asked us to take him off the streets. Will you pray for Victor? Will you pray that something will give and Victor will have a home, family and get some education? Will you pray that if Victor is supposed to be here that fear would not stop us. He's probably so far behind in school that he needs to just attend a tech school to get some hands on training in a particular skill so he can get a job and do something besides sniff glue all day. It would bring me so much joy to see him sober and have a real conversation with him.
#aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome#streetboycrisis #kenya #nonprofit #james127#orphans

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We bloom where we are

Mercy Home Update!

And we've grown some since this picture :-)

And we've grown some since this picture :-)

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 ESV

As many of you know we've been asking for prayers and seeking the Lord on where he would have us. Would He have us stay in Kaya or move to the 7 acre property? Today, best we can tell, that has been answered for us. We were notified recently that the Kenyan ministry who has been raising money for the 7 acre property for the last year has made a cash offer that has been accepted. Since I knew towards the end of last week that this property wouldn't likely be ours I have been able to process most of my feelings and today I have peace with some sadness of course. However I still want to share where my heart is and has been.

I will admit that I haven't taken this news well at all. Now that I have waded through my anger (which is actually feelings of failure) and heartbreak it comes down to one thing for me. The school. The Victorious property has a school that we don't have. We already have a big living space for children, we have clean water and we can and will plant flowers and trees here in Kaya. But we don't currently have a school or the land for a school. 💔

As you can see our home is mostly surrounded with dirt and the outside hasn't been plastered yet. The handmade bricks are beautiful, but the rain is damaging to them overtime so we must plaster over them. Once the outside is plastered it will also help seal up our home, meaning less bugs, dirt and mosquitos.

As you can see our home is mostly surrounded with dirt and the outside hasn't been plastered yet. The handmade bricks are beautiful, but the rain is damaging to them overtime so we must plaster over them. Once the outside is plastered it will also help seal up our home, meaning less bugs, dirt and mosquitos.

Currently we send our children to a public Catholic school, but it is completely different than any school you would see in America. Public school here looks like 3 children sitting in 1 small desk, 60+ children to a class, a school of 800+ students to 10 (TEN) teachers, not enough text books for every child, teachers walking around hitting children with sticks for any reason at all, lunch isn't served (children walk home for lunch) because it just isn't in the school budget, there is no running water, no pencil sharpener, no power the majority of the time and we must pay school fees.

Often times I feel like the school undoes what we are trying to teach at home. One of the many things we try and teach our children is that they can trust us (and the entire MCH staff). They can trust us to love them, to feed them, to protect them and to do what is best for them. How can you trust an adult who calls you stupid? How can you trust an adult who has just hit you in front of 50+ other students and you aren't even sure why? How can you trust an adult who hits you for asking why they are about to hit you? How can we as parents protect our children when we are told "This is the Kenyan way."? It is the Kenyan way, but it isn't the only way.

Our goal is to have a great school with small class sizes, with teachers who love children, without beating sticks, with proper supplies, that is able to serve breakfast and lunch year round, that is 100% free for the children in our area who aren't currently able to afford to attend school. Our goal is to have a real Christian school, not just a school that teaches a Christian class (required by the Kenyan government).

When this from is finished it will be the boys room. Currently we have the girls in a smaller room, but we are out of room in that room for beds. Finishing this room would be a huge blessing to our children.

When this from is finished it will be the boys room. Currently we have the girls in a smaller room, but we are out of room in that room for beds. Finishing this room would be a huge blessing to our children.

So what now? We bloom where we are and basically keep doing what we've been doing. We keep fundraising to finish our home, purchase land and grow our ministry including building a school for our children and our village which could easily cost us more than the $150,000 we have been trying to raise. We keep caring for those God sends us.

Anyone want to guess how many children we have here at Mercy Home? 😮I am not going to lie to you, waiting is hard for me. I'm very all or nothing if you will, but God is working on that. For the last year and a half I feel like we've basically been camping 😂. So many parts of our home aren't finished, we don't have an actual kitchen or dinning hall, we are just now getting some paint on the walls and we are still living out of our suitcases that we moved here with.

So will you pray for us? Pray for resources, we need a lot of money to finish our unfinished home, for land and to build a school. Pray for us to have patience, me especially. Pray that our eyes will remain on Him and what He wants for us. Pray for us to have a school in January (when the Kenyan school year starts) as we feel this is very important, not only for our children, but the children of our village as well. And thank God for answers even when it doesn't end up looking like we think it will. 💜 In some ways this is a relief because now we can focus only on this home and property, in other ways it is a bigger burden because we now know we need to build a school from the ground up and purchase additional land.

Thank you for your prayers, love and support. Living this life isn't always easy, but it is a huge blessing. We are constantly growing and constantly trying to better the lives of our children. Making their lives better only happens by your prayers, your support, your sharing and you will never know how much that means to us as the parents of these children. Thank you so very much!

#mercychildrenshome #aboutfacemissions #kenya #james127 #orphans#theleastofthese #streetboycrisis

I'm not sure if you can see past Robai's smile or not, but we don't have ceilings in our home. While it isn't super important for the whole house it would be nice to have in our bedrooms and office.

I'm not sure if you can see past Robai's smile or not, but we don't have ceilings in our home. While it isn't super important for the whole house it would be nice to have in our bedrooms and office.

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Lull's in the storms, but still hard at work

We are still here and kicking!  Even though you haven't heard much as we are busy at work in Kenya! 

One thing we may have forgotten to mention is that we now are the proud owners of 3 beautiful Honda motorcycles!!  We were spending too much money hiring drivers and renting rides and it only made sense that we invest in a couple more motorcycles for our transportation needs. Here is a photo of our awesome THREESOME of Honda's wrapped in our colorful Purple Bike protective wrap!  Pray also that we may be able to find funds in the near future to buy a small van, but that may need to wait until we get some higher priority items completed first. Click button below to see our latest updates on goals and fundraiser needs. Change is in the air! 

THANK YOU to all of you who pray and give to make this life changing ministry possible here in Kenya!  God bless you!!  

Stephanie loves colors! :-)

Stephanie loves colors! :-)

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